Monday, Feb. 5 is the 12th annual Zero Tolerance for FGM day. Female genital mutilation (FGM) violates the rights of women and girls and limits their opportunities for the future in health, education and income. Rooted in gender inequality and power imbalances, it is an act of gender-based violence that harms girls' bodies, dims their futures and endangers their lives.
Climate change, rising poverty and inequality hinder efforts to transform gender and social norms around the world and in Kenya that underpin this harmful practice and disrupt programs that help protect girls.
Educating Girls and their Communities about their Bodies & Rights
Kenya Works travels across the country delivering seminars to meet girls in their communities working directly with groups of girls and separately with their parents through our Anti-FGM Forums. We target locations and times based on frontline reports indicating FGM is likely to occur. The goal is to educate the community and speak directly to girls on topics proven to successfully intervene in this practice.
the severe health risks of FGM
the impact of FGM/early marriage on education and economic prospects
the social and community implications of suppressing girls' from the economy
girls' rights under Kenyan law
parents' obligation to protect their children from harm
Partnerships with Men & Boys to End FGM
In fostering the engagement of men and boys, the global community is actively accelerating the elimination of this practice and lifting the voices of women and girls. Kenya Works partners with and engages men and boys, including religious and traditional leaders, health workers, law enforcement officials, members of civil society, and grassroots organizations, leading to notable achievements in the protection of women and girls.
Through all of our traveling human rights workshops, we build relationships with local leaders advocating for change in advance of visits and stay connected through community chat groups in perpetuity. Engaging local advocates of men and boys help women and girls feel safe raising their own voices in a protected space.
Kenya Works brings boys into the discussion of menstruation and adolescent empowerment through our Makini Pads Initiative & Boxers for Boys. We travel to schools across the country framing adolescence as a time that must be empowering for both girls and boys, opening a dialogue about barriers each face. We open a conversation about menstruation as a normal part of human biology and stress body positivity for all, while reinforcing girls' reproductive health needs and legal rights to body autonomy.
Our team of social workers, counselors, educators and lawyers is gender-balanced demonstrating that it takes representation across genders to build an equal society where every voice matters. Integrate gender-transformative approaches and changing social norms into anti-FGM programs.
Partnerships with men and boys can make the largest global impact in ending FGM by 2030.
We encourage our social community to participate. Be part of the online conversation and participate on social media. Share with the world: #MenEndFGM!
Challenge the discriminatory reasons FGM is practiced
In addition to our Anti-FGM Forums, the Kenya Works team travels throughout the country to provide intensive 4-day Community Works training to sensitize communities on human rights, and gender inequality while emphasizing the role of parents and communities in changing gender norms that value each child. Through these sessions, we demonstrate the moral, economic and legal imperatives of shifting cultural practices to be inclusive for all.
Speak out about Health Risks of FGM
FGM limits opportunities for women and girls to exercise their rights and realize their potential. The World Health Organization considers FGM to be the world's worst form of systemic gender-based violence.
FGM can cause health complications including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), severe infection, chronic pain, depression, infertility and risks during childbirth, even death. Yet there is no medical reason for subjecting girls to this violence.
We train girls on these unnecessary risks to their health and well-being, often including local medical personnel who can vividly describe the problems they see first-hand. Educating girls and their parents on the potential risks serves as one the greatest deterrents in changing minds about the practice.
Activism through youth, community groups, social networks
Kenya Works develops activism from the ground up in the communities we serve. We begin our outreach by finding existing voices and leaders within a community, then empower those voices by building on the knowledge and connectivity to create change. We bring together chiefs, girls mentors, youth leaders and enjoin them with the broader community to lead these discussions and workshops. We continue to provide information and encouragement through chat groups from each session that allow the conversation to continue. Through these efforts we encourage communities to celebrate their progress on Zero FGM around this global day of change.
Additionally, we activate social media networks with content that can be shared across these chat groups, serving as reminders and calls to action that they hold the power to create change in the lives of their girls, youth and community for the prosperity of all.
JOIN US in keeping these efforts going every day of the year! Your voice matters in ending this global human rights violation. What can you do?
Join the conversation and educate people in your sphere
Support organizations on the ground who are working every day to keep girls safe, teach them their rights and create a gender-equal world that recognizes equal potential in all children.